For fans of Game of Thrones, the series continues to be riveting but no matter how much we love to watch, few would argue the show is a laboratory for learning based on a realistic view of the world. And yet, sometimes even fantastical situations can inspire lessons—and unlikely sources for reflection can be a bit more fun.
In that vein, here are a few lessons for business from Game of Thrones because, why not?
Fight The Battles That Matter Most
In your business live you’ll be confronted by battles that matter more—or less—to you. Figuratively speaking, some battles are for the future of the seven kingdoms and some are just for small fiefdoms that may matter less. Choose wisely. Advocating for something or resisting standard approaches can cost you time and emotional investment. Identify which projects, points or principles matter most. Be intentional about where you spend your energy.
Work Together For Common Goals
It is rarely unwise to collaborate with others. But it’s especially important when there is a big challenge or a common goal at stake. It can be critical to work across typical boundaries with other teams. You may not be battling White Walkers for the future of civilization, but research demonstrates teams often coordinate best when they are working within their organization against challenges outside the company. Resolve internal differences and put aside personal arguments when you need to work together and solve the biggest challenges.
Pay Attention To Feedback, But Not Too Much
People who are doing big things often receive a lot of feedback. Remember all those scenes when Jon Snow’s leadership was being tested? Or Daenerys’ court where she responded to villagers’ disagreements with her policies? Inevitably, some people will agree with you and some won’t. Listen to criticisms and determine whether you need to change directions. Balance the need to wisely pay attention to input versus your need to stay the course.
Claim Your Power And Your Gifts
Not everyone has a lineage that puts them in line for the Iron Throne. But if you have a blazing wit like Tyrion, an uncanny ability to anticipate problems like Bran or even a real knack for making critical tools like Gendry, embrace these gifts. Teams and organizations succeed when members can bring their best skills and talents to work and completely tap into the unique ways they can help the kingdom…er, company.
Your career will have its ups and downs. Sometimes you’ll be on an upward trajectory, but sometimes you may be on a downslope. No matter what, stay in the game. Remember when Jon Snow came back from the dead in season 7? Keep the faith and know that even when your career is down, you may not be out.
The Weirwood Tree offers a place of sanctuary and sanity in the midst of the kingdoms’ chaos. In addition to being a testament to the power of place, it also harkens toward the need to stay grounded despite the challenges you’ll face in your career. Take time to decompress, ensure boundaries between your work and the rest of your life or confide in a coworker who can help keep you sane.
While Game of Thrones may not include all the best examples of how to handle your career challenges, there are some elements of all the shenanigans that can be instructive, at least until you have your own brood of dragons to resolve issues and stay on top.